We each in us carry the voices and the stories we remember, but deeper are the ones we know through instinct or intuition, our embedded knowledge, the old ways and why we did them and how come we thought that way and how we came to be. Our origins.
Tuesday morning I went on a walk with two young women: Elizabeth Elliott, an Oklahoma Wildlife biologist and Rosalee Walker, with the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program. We took off to walk to the end of the world. The end of my property, where the road had long washed out to see what had become of the edge of here. The briars and the Sumac mingled with some cedars and beneath along the way we found a carpet of honeysuckle. Not climbing but nesting beneath the grasses. Some of those native grasses were taller than me, the Indian Grass, but the Little Blue was putting on a show as they are heading out with their fluffy seeds. We ventured farther and headed to the stream that runs clear and sweet through the bottom lands.
The invasives have not needed water and have left it as I remembered. The adventures of finding it and following it as it snaked back on itself. All this made me think of how sometimes, you can't go back? But sometimes you can. Suddenly I was a child again, leaping from rock to rock, climbing over the roots and up on the stream beds and then back down again as the creek turned again, all heading us back to where we began.
It was like a month long vacation without a clock, no time, though all time set backwards and decades were gone and the adventure reigned.
While walking backward into the past, my past, the land's past and the water, the ever present water, still good, not tainted from a neighbor or his neighbor's wrong choices. How incredibly precious this place is and that my grandfather knew it before statehood that this place must be part of our lives, it must be kept.
And then I knew the why I work and push and hope so much, it is for the bad lands, the harmed lands the little streams containing toxins and metals and less life found in it. How this is just wrong and knowing all of it can be undone. Rights can be righted for the water, the silent always running water and willing it so must work if only enough of us do the willing, right?
And enough of us speak up for the what needs righting as the time is fitting might be what works and why not try it, since silence has not worked. One easy speak out would be to call Senator Inhofe and ask him to remove his amendment from the National Defense Authorization Act, which can be found in section 6021. He could listen, just because he doesn't always, doesn't mean we don't ask when we call 202 224 4721 every time we call.
Use your voice.
My grandfather was born One hundred years before me, my grandfather who found this piece of land I now live upon. So his voice, I never heard, as Momaday would explain, I never heard the spirit that lived in his voice. I never thought to ask my dad, to tell me about that voice and did he speak about this land? the little creek that runs through it? The clean water he would have seen. Did he remember or was he a witness for his father in old age that he had outlived his valor? Or did he remember my grandfather telling how he had been alive?
And can we remember when we were alive? And how that felt? Then begin to think of what made us feel that and that the generations to come should be, also alive with where they live and how it is for them. Which takes me and us to what we do to protect this one precious earth for those who come.
We have only this much time to right it for them and by golly to do it for ourselves. We can buckle down and begin and with that begin to be alive again and find the spirit in us our future ones will know existed. We fought at the end of our lives before the end of time, to protect us from flooding, to stop that eternal flow of evil running down Tar Creek, to celebrate the last fiber of asbestos as it rolls out of town wrapped in the protective blanket that protects us from it.
We have together time to share seeds, read N. Scott Momaday, find out how alive feels again and discover, reclaim the sacred places we value. Put your boots on and if you stomp dance and write poetry, like poet laureate of the United States, Joy Harjo, I suppose you would attach your turtle shells to your yellow cowboy boots and get your culture to move you through these times to come.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim